While we were away;
Millwall vs Leeds United Match Report
Some things do change, under strength but still as strong as Leeds continued their unbeaten run with a 1–1 draw at Millwall. The draw keeps them at the top of the Championship by a point, Middlesborough lost at Norwich City so Leeds are the only unbeaten team left in the Championship.
With the squad under strength because of injuries to Gaetano Berardi, Pablo Hernandez, Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa shuffled his squad and Tyler Roberts was played as the lone striker with Jack Harrison continuing in a wide midfield role. Pontus Jansson partnered Liam Cooper in the centre of defence. Adam Forshaw returned to the substitutes bench after his spell out through injury.
Despite the fact that Leeds went behind to a second half goal by Jed Wallace they fought back to equalise through a superb goal by Jack Harrison with a minute to go. Elliot hit the post for Millwall in injury time but Leeds deserved their share of the spoils.
The mentality that keeps the players going until the last kick is reaping rewards, staying top is the prize for many hours of hard graft. Without doubt previous Leeds teams would have settled for a minimal defeat but this group, despite many being at the club for a few years now have somebody who believes in them and more importantly they believe in themselves.
Preston North End are next up and are the only team this far to beat Leeds this season in a Carabao Cup tie. Marcelo Bielsa’s team was vastly changed for the cup tie mind you and many given the opportunity did not perform very well. Alex Neil’s team lost at the weekend but will battle for every ball as they did in the game earlier in the season. I’d like to see Ryan Edmundson or Jack Clarke be given at least twenty minutes during the game. Leeds to win 2-1.
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison, the winger took his chance superbly.
David Watkins report on the history changing result at the Den
Thank you David
Andrea Radrizzani gave the Pope Francis a home Leeds United shirt as the pontiff toured the Vatican City where Radrizzani was in attendance. On the back of said shirt was ‘FRANCESO’ number 1.
The owner Tweeted:
“Emotional and unique moment to meet his holiness @pontifex and donate an @lufc jersey... 🙏🏻 💙 💛 ⚽️we have one special supporter.”
Pope Francesco with his shirt.
Heidi Haigh has her say on the battle at the New Den
Thank you Heidi
A ‘Super’ computer has been used by the radio station TalkSport. It predicted at the end of the forty six match season the Championship table will end with these six teams in the playoff places and the two automatic promotion places.
2.Leeds United (Promoted)
Make a note and see if they were correct.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell has rejected the chance to play for England and is expected to make his full international Northern Ireland appearance against Bosnia. He has so far only played for Northern Ireland in a ‘friendly’ but under international rules once he plays competitively for one country he is not allowed to play for another country.
Pablo Hernandez won the PFA Championship Player of the month for August. The Spaniard has been in superb form and so far has scored three goals and two assists in five Championship games.
Lee Bowyer made permanent manager of Charlton Athletic after an extended period as caretaker manager.
Ex-Leeds midfielder David Hopkins takes over at Bradford City after the West Yorkshire side sacked Michael Collins are only six games. He is still Bradford City’s record signing, signing for the ‘Bantams’ from Leeds for around £2.5 million. He made 73 appearances for Leeds scoring six goals.
Marcelo Bielsa and Kemar Roofe have won the EFL Championship manager and player awards for the month of August. It is the first time the club have won the awards together. Roofe: “It’s showing in our performances, as a team and individuals, and it’s all stemmed from our pre-season. It’s the best pre-season I’ve had so far, the hardest, and the style of play Marcelo’s given us is showing – with the ball, without the ball, our fitness and off the pitch as well. Every day he’s educating us about how to improve as people too. I’ve won this award so my game must have improved. I feel like I can express myself a bit more. I’m playing in a position where I can show what I can actually do. The team plays to my strengths and everyone else’s strengths. We’re not doing something we’re not capable of.”
Leeds v Preston
Team News: Leeds unchanged from the game at Millwall.
Team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper(c), Phillips, Klich, Alioski, Siaz, Harrison, Roberts.
Leeds continued to claim top spot in the Championship with a 3-0 win over Preston, the win could and should have been by more goals but it was a superb performance by the Championship Leaders.
Preston so nearly did what they did in the cup tie earlier in the season, Peacock-Farrell saving brilliantly early in the game. From then on Leeds dominated proceedings and Polish international had two great chances to give Leeds the lead but he put both wide of the post, they deservedly went in front just before half time when Liam Cooper scored from a corner, he beat the keeper, the post and a defender’s out stretched leg. Leeds 1-0 up at the break.
The second half Leeds didn’t dominate as much as they did in the first and Preston thought they had an equaliser before the hour but it was disallowed for offside. Jack Harrison was put through by Samuel Siaz but the winger hit the post even through on goal. The second goal was a ‘peach’ of a goal, Kalvin Phillips brilliant through ball found Tyler Roberts who controlled the ball before lobbing the ball past the statuesque Preston keeper. It was a fabulous goal and how the youngster celebrated his first goal for Leeds in style. They finally finished off Preston with eight minutes to go, Samuel Siaz found Mateusz Klich inside the area and the midfielder’s cross found Roberts to double his Leeds goal tally with a superb header. Game over.
Liam Cooper and Tyler Roberts with the three goals.
Man of the Match: Tyler Roberts, two great goals and a good all round display.
Marcelo Bielsa: “(Roberts)started the pre-season work later than others. He has done many efforts. I asked him to play as a right winger and heard he liked to play as a number nine. Circumstances offered him a place in the team in the position where I thought he didn't have to play.
In the game against Millwall he had four chances to score and today scored two goals so it's an interesting performance. He's a very young player and I'm very happy for him. He deserves it."
Alex Neil: "I'm obviously naturally disappointed to come away losing the game 3-0. We started the game really well and were on top. Then we gave the ball away on a couple of occasions and that got their tails up. Their movement is good. We high pressed well in the cup, which is a high-risk strategy, and managed to beat them on the back of it.”
"But today we didn't do enough going forward when we had the ball to damage Leeds. When you do that when you play good teams you're going to get hurt at the other end. We do have to get ourselves out of the rut we're in at the moment."
Tyler Roberts two-goal salvo took most of the honours in the post match reaction on social media, also mentioned were Pontus Jansson, Liam Cooper and Jack Harrison.
David Watkins enjoys a wet night at Elland Road and a thumping good home victory.
Thank you David.
Marcelo Bielsa on the injury situation, Tyler Roberts and facing Birmingham City. "No, the injured players won't be able to play against Birmingham this weekend.” Gaetano Berardi (knee) and Jamie Shackleton (ankle) are expected to return imminently but it appears the clash with Garry Monk's men will come too soon for the pair. United's top goalscorer Kemar Roofe remains sidelined with a calf strain as does playmaker Pablo Hernandez who is set for a longer lay off with a hamstring injury.
On Tyler Roberts: “When a number nine scores it always gives him confidence, in both games he played he was a link to the box. He didn't score against Millwall but against Preston he scored twice. The important thing is he creates chances to score and then when he scores more goals he will become an important player."
The 63-year-old also played down the importance of beating the Blues believing that his side always have an "obligation" to give their all for a victory. "Every time a professional team plays the victory is an obligation. I don't think it would have a special impact if we win."
Speaking about recent performances: “Our performances against Millwall, Swansea and Middlesbrough were not the same as the ones versus Preston, Derby and Norwich (last month). The games versus Millwall and Middlesbrough were tough games for us. That’s why we can’t say that our team is a strong team yet. We need to do things before saying that and we haven’t done them so far.”
“The Championship is a long distance to run, not a sprint.”
Heidi talks about Leeds’ statement victory at Elland Road against Preston
Thank you Heidi
Garry Monk on his time at Leeds, their fans and settling differences with Andrea Radrizzani: “I have not been surprised at all, as I have always said, I have got fantastic memories there, I am really proud of and enjoyed the work that we were doing there. When I went there it was very much a divided club, a lot of differences between everyone at the club and fans and I am very proud of the way we united that club again. The main part of that is it was the first time in a long time people were actually talking about what was going on - on the pitch. That hadn’t happened for a long time there. It’s a fantastic club, huge passionate support, really loyal fans, we know Elland Road is a really difficult place, I have experienced that bond with the fans, home games were very special and they have got that again. “
“I have spoken to Andrea since I have departed, those differences have been put to the side now, whatever differences we had at the time. I think it’s fantastic for Andrea and the club, it’s good to see they decided this year is the year. They have invested heavily in the club, probably learned from the mistakes they made last year and Andrea has openly said that. They have invested well and have got a hugely talented manager with a lot of experience and that recipe is putting them back on that course for the Premier League."
We’ve met before
Leeds 2 Birmingham City 0 September 2017
Leeds 1 Birmingham City 2 Aug 2016
Leeds 0 Birmingham City 2 Oct 2015
Leeds 1 Birmingham City 1 Jan 2015
Leeds 4 Birmingham City 0 Oct 2013
All recent games played in the Championship.
Leeds go into this game with confidence, unbeaten in the Championship and still top. Birmingham City are a team that other teams have struggled to score against but have not scored many themselves.
Marcelo Bielsa has already said in his pre game press conference that it will be ‘as you are’ so Leeds could be unchanged for the third game in the row. Tyler Roberts will hopefully continue to impress after his two goals against Preston on Tuesday. Jack Harrison is another player that has rightly had praise since coming into the side because of an injury to Pablo Hernandez.
The full house will most likely give a ‘warm’ reception to ex Head Coach Garry Monk who left at the end of the 2016/17 season saying he was leaving to manage a bigger club, he moved to Middlesborough but was sacked after a poor first part of the 2017/18 season.
It won’t be as easy as the game against Preston, Birmingham City are well organised and will probably hope to stifle the home side and hit them on the break or at set pieces. If Leeds can get an early goal i expect another home win. Leeds 2-0.
Leeds v Birmingham City
Team News: Both teams unchanged from their games in midweek, Leeds unchanged for the third game in a row.
Team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Douglas, Cooper(c), Jansson, Phillips, Klich, Alioski, Siaz, Harrison, Roberts.
The superb performance of Tuesday’s first half against Preston wasn’t repeated as the visitors scored early, Adams scoring a goal on eight minutes, then doubled City’s score just before the half hour. Leeds struggled to get into the game as Birmingham showed their defensive strength, Kalvin Phillips was sacrificed as Leeds went to three at the back and brought on Stuart Dallas, Tyler Roberts was closest to getting Leeds back in the game but he just couldn’t turn in a Liam Cooper header from a corner.
The second half brought a much needed response from Leeds, substitutes Forshaw and Edmunson coming close to getting the goal a near capacity crowd craved. With five minutes left Ezgjan Alioski scored to give hope to Leeds and in injury time Stuart Dallas was brilliantly denied by Lee Camp.
Marcelo Bielsa: “The proposal I chose for this game at the beginning was not the right one. Phillips played in front of (Pontus) Jansson and (Liam) Cooper to link defence to attack and we could not reach that goal. In the first 30 minutes we were not fluid with the ball and we didn't feel safe because we didn't recover the ball well.”
“We couldn't make the link between defence and attack because Phillips could not receive the ball. Phillips had to assume the consequences for the mistake I made. When I corrected the mistake, the rival had already scored two goals. Our team was less confident. It's a high price to play for a tactical mistake”
Garry Monk: “I am very proud of the players, they deserve that. We have performed well all season and outplayed a lot of good teams. We have been very unfortunate.”
"Of course when you have a winless run, talk comes. To come here against the league leaders, at a stadium with a fantastic atmosphere, I thought the players were magnificent. I am pleased for them and the fans. I thought we got what we deserved."
A little shorter diary than usual due to holidays and illness. Still top and loving it! Any sensible comments or ideas welcome, please put in comments section. If your interested in submitting an article please contact the site or myself or Ryan on Twitter.
By Keith Ingham